Em experiences the world through her mouth. Walking around with her means regularly telling her to drop cigarette butts, bits of metal, pen caps, scraps of paper, empty soft drink cups and quarts of oil, plastic bags, duct tape, used bubble gum. The list goes on; even in designated wilderness areas the trash she picks up is endless. I should train her to drop it into the garbage bag I’ve started sticking in my pocket before we walk out the door.

My new rule is if it’s organic, like the dead mouse stiffened in rigor mortis that she found yesterday, she can keep it.* But man-made finds are mine. This arrangement has led us to periodic bouts of throat diving. Today this arrangement led us to me reaching halfway down her throat after an 8-inch square of bubble wrap that popped as she tried to swallow.

*Within reason. Poop is out, as are slugs. Carrion is an ongoing struggle.